I’ve always been a big believer in contingency plans. Saying yes to a concert involves a detailed inspection of venue and local parking, evenings out in New York city require saved jpegs of the subway train times in case internet is down along sketchy sidewalks, baking a pumpkin pie demands extra cans of everything in case I mess it up. You get the gist.
One time as a 12-year old I packed an entire overnight bag (with a bathing suit) in case my play date with a friend went well and I decided to take it to the next level of “spend the night.” That friend didn’t even have a pool at her house. But hey, you gotta plan for every variable.
I often live my life accounting for all of the variables. It helps me minimize feelings of disappointment or anxiety. And as I write down the tiny, “responsible” ways that my planning takes up space in my life, I’m recognizing that it is limiting (It may also be neurotic. I’m still working on blessing my crazy).
“What if you just let things be messed up? What if you let yourself be disappointed? What if you didn’t have it all together?” I’ve been asked those questions a lot lately. And the people who have asked those questions are the people who love me most– which means that I am definitely not fooling anybody who counts with all of my “togetherness.”
I believe that our contingency plans prohibit us from feeling the fullness of love. At least, mine do.
If I’m always anticipating the shoe that drops, if I’m playing out in my head the worst-case scenarios or if I’m constantly monitoring circumstances to achieve the reality I think is best, then I’m not trusting. And I’m not believing that my messy, real self is ok, and perhaps wanted.
At the end of the day, planning for the worst helps me avoid showing up as I am. It takes me out of the story Jesus has placed me in. Doubt, anger, struggle, drama, forgiveness—that’s what the best stories are made of. And the people in relationship with me are asking to experience those parts of me. They want to care for all of me.
I continue to find myself surrendering to my story. Each day it seems I can surrender a little more, and then there is a day where I wall up entirely and have to start again. Still, my heart is more open today than it used to be. I am finding myself in deeper relationship with others and more interesting space with Jesus. It is the space where he and I get out of the boat to walk on unknown waters. And that is good.
What about you? What would happen if you let it all go?
Katy Johnson lives, dreams, writes, and edits in a messy, watercolored world. She’s a 25 year old, discovering her hope, her longings, and the wild spaces in her own heart. Her favorite creative project right now is called The Someday Writings, and someday, she may let those writings see the light of day. For now, she shares her thoughts here.